Avian flu confirmed at Israeli poultry farm

Following a prolonged absence, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been confirmed at a kibbutz in Israel. There have also been further outbreaks in Russia, while South Africa has reported detecting two different types of the mild form of the disease on ostrich farms.

(Rodrigo Comisarenco | Freeimages.com)
(Rodrigo Comisarenco | Freeimages.com)

After an absence of around one and a half years, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has returned to the Israeli poultry sector.

Affected was a flock of 35,000 heavy breeders at a farm in the Hadera city region of Haifa district in northern Israel. According to the official report to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), there were around 2,000 cases including 800 deaths in one of four pens at the affected farm. The agriculture ministry reports that the H5N8 HPAI virus was detected.

The ministry has closed the infected chicken flock at a kibbutz, and placed neighboring farms under restrictions, reports Jerusalem Post.

According to the OIE report, the source of the infection is thought to be migrating birds, which had been seen feeding on adjacent fish ponds.

Previously, HPAI was most recently found in Israel in a wild eagle in January of this year. The disease has not been detected in the country’s poultry since April of 2019.

Two further outbreaks in Russian poultry

At the end of last month, presence of the H5N8 HPAI virus was confirmed in two more poultry flocks in Russia. Affected were backyard birds in Omsk oblast, which is in the Siberian federal district. Of the total 1,776 poultry involved in the latest outbreaks, 62 birds died. The agriculture ministry’s report does not indicate the fate of the remaining birds.

These latest outbreaks bring Russia’s total since August to 52, and the number of poultry impacted to more than 1.58 million. This includes a single farm with around 1.56 million poultry. The virus has been detected in domestic birds in five oblasts in three different federal districts. It has also been isolated in wild birds at six locations in the same areas as the poultry outbreaks. In mid-September, a single HPAI outbreak linked to an H5 virus variant was confirmed at a poultry farm in the North Caucasian federal district.

There have been no recent updates on the progression of HPAI in neighboring Kazakhstan.

At the start of October, a senior agriculture ministry official reported a decline in the number of cases in poultry, according to KazInform. By that time, the disease has impacted poultry in 99 communities in seven of the country’s regions. Around 24,000 poultry had died from the disease, and 330,000 more had been culled to halt the spread of the infection.

OIE has received reports of 10 outbreaks impacting 68,000 birds from the Kazakh agriculture ministry. The most recent reported outbreak started on September 23.

Second mild flu virus type detected in South African ostriches

At the end of August, a low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) virus of the H5 family was detected in a commercial ostrich flock in Western Cape Province. There were 27 cases among the 1,561 birds in the flock at Oudtshoorn, according to the agriculture department report to the OIE.

OIE records that it was in May of 2019 that this virus was last detected in the country.

Meanwhile, a sixth ostrich flock has tested positive for an LPAI virus of the H7 group. Of the flock of 931 birds at the farm in Hessequa in the same province, 56 were found to be infected, without displaying obvious symptoms.

This was the first detection of this virus in the Hessequa district. Previous outbreaks have been in Mossel Bay, Oudtshoorn, and Kannaland since mid-July of this year.

Indian HPAI outbreaks “resolved”

India’s animal health agency has declared to the OIE that five HPAI outbreak series linked to the H5N1 virus variant were “resolved” at the end of last month. For each series, cases were confirmed in February and March of this year. No additional outbreaks have occurred since that time.

The declarations followed three outbreaks in poultry in the southern state of Kerala, and one at a livestock market in Madhya Pradesh in central India. The same virus had been detected at a zoo in the northeastern state of Jharkhand, and among wild birds in Bihar (also in the north-east) and in Madhya Pradesh.

No new avian flu outbreaks in Australia

There have been no new outbreaks of HPAI or LPAI in Australia since the end of August, according to the agriculture department of the Victoria state government.

Decontamination and disinfection at the six affected premises are on-going. Meanwhile, surveillance continues in the restricted and control zones. In Golden Plains Shire, poultry owners in the restricted zone are still required to keep their birds housed, although this restriction has been lifted for those in the control zone.

Up to the end of August, three different strains of avian influenza virus were identified across six farms in Victoria. The H7N7 HPAI virus was detected at three eggs farms. At two turkey farms, birds tested positive for the H5N2 LPAI virus, and the H7N6 LPAI virus variant was found in emus at another premises.

View our continuing coverage of the global avian influenza situation.

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